Monday, February 16, 2015

How to detect and stop a manipulator

The manipulators are persons who often masquerade as sheep but in fact are wolves, ready to strike where hurts more in order to achieve their goals. They ask you to put their needs before yours and don’t even show gratefulness when you do it. Manipulators play with your emotions, they generate a deep sense of guilt and a lack of confidence in your abilities so that you end up being one more piece in their game.

Psychological manipulation involves influencing through mental distortion and emotional exploitation, with the clear intention of taking power or control and get some benefits or privileges at the expense of the victim. The manipulator is aware of his actions, and acts deliberately creating an imbalance of power that allows him to tilt the scales in his favor so to exploit the other person.

When this situation occurs over time, you’re at risk of leading a life that is not what you really wanted, by the moment that without realizing it you accepted his orders subordinating your needs and desires to them.

How works a manipulator?

Very often the manipulator is someone close to us, someone we even estimate, so it's not always easy to reveal his true intentions. However, the truth is that most manipulators have a similar modus operandi, a pattern which is repeated continuously:

1. They are specialists in detecting your weaknesses. We all have weaknesses, defects or aspects of which we do not feel particularly proud and secure, manipulators have some kind of a sixth sense to detect those weaknesses and take profit of them.

2. They project a plan to achieve their interests. The manipulative persons do not usually have moral scruples, once detected your weakness they use it to manipulate you. In their mind they use a Machiavellian mechanism to concoct a plan that will make you give up your needs and values. In this way, and almost without realizing it, you fall into their net.

3. To feel satisfied, they need always more. Manipulation is power, and this can be as addictive as any drug. Therefore, once the manipulator caught his victim uses her to achieve his goals whenever he can, unless the person ceases such exploitation. A manipulator rarely vacate his prey, but tries to squeeze the most demanding always greater sacrifices.

Different types of manipulators

- The victim. It is a very common type of manipulation but also very difficult to detect, because the person assumes the role of a victim passing on you the role of the bad guy. For these people blame belongs always to others, they’re poor humiliated and abused victims. With this kind of speech they arouse your sense of guilt with the intention to manipulate you.

- The dependent. This manipulator is wearing the mask of the weak and powerless person who depends on others. But behind that appearance of lamb there’s a wolf that manipulates the feelings sending openly a very clear message: "You must not disappoint me".

- The aggressive. This is a person with a bad character that can explode at any time. His manipulative strategy is very simple: he shows you he’s the strongest, so that your personality is weakened because you know that any misstep can lead to a fight.

- The interpreter. This is a person who, at first glance, seems to be on your side but uses continually your words against you. He’s an expert manipulating the information to put it in his favor, detecting hidden intentions inside messages and acts and generating a feeling of guilt for something you've never said or done.

- The sarcastic. This type of manipulator shows his cards but prefers to play protected. Therefore his techniques are sarcastic comments, veiled criticism and humiliation. In this way demonstrates his superiority, managing to denigrate and manipulate you at his will.

- The projector. This person thinks to be perfect and that the others are full of defects. Therefore, whenever he can makes you notice that you're wrong or don’t meet his parameters, so to generate great uncertainty and lack of confidence in his favor as he stands as good mentor or supreme judge.

How to stop a manipulator?

1. Know your basic rights

The first step to cope with a manipulator is to be aware that your rights are being violated. That you must defend them, but without hurting others. Be aware that:

- You are entitled to be treated with respect

- You have the right to express your feelings, opinions and desires

- You have the right to set your own priorities

- You have the right to say "no" without feeling guilty

- You have the right to protect yourself from a physical, mental or emotional threat

- You have the right to build your own life

2. Keep your distance

The manipulator often moves between extremes. That means the he shows two sides, he can be very friendly with some and extremely rude to others, may seem defenseless and the next moment behave aggressively. If you know a person like this the best is to keep a distance because is likely to be a manipulator.

If you've already fallen into his net try to minimize the contact. It doesn’t mean you have to escape but that there’s no need to be exposed unnecessarily to the attacks.

3. Avoid blaming yourself

One of the key strategies of the manipulator is to generate a sense of guilt in his victim. However, if they are violating your rights, you should be aware that the victim is you and you don’t have to feel guilty. If you don’t assume this situation at the emotional level the manipulator will lose the battle. Ask yourself:

Am I being treated with respect?

Are the expectations and demands of that person reasonable?

Is it a relationship in which only one gives while the other gives nothing in return?

Do I feel good about myself in that relationship?

Your answers will contain important clues to allow you assess whether the "problem" in the relationship is you or someone else.

4. Ask them questions

Sometimes, to unmask a manipulator it is enough to ask a few questions, these questions will tell them that you're not easy to be manipulated and you know his intentions, even if you try to hide it. For example:

Does it seem a reasonable or fair request?

According to you, what am I supposed to answer?

Are you asking me or you're just commenting?

These questions oblige the manipulator to look in the mirror and see the true nature of his ploy. If that person has some degree of consciousness, he’ll probably withdraw the demand and reverse.

5. Take advantage of time

Manipulators often made unreasonable demands and press for an immediate response because they know that if you think about it, you will probably refuse to fulfill their wishes. Therefore, you can use time to your advantage, when they make a proposal you just answer: "I'll think about it".

Then, take the time you need to evaluate the pros and cons, calmly and without feeling pressure.

6. Say "no" firmly

The manipulators are experts in reading the extra verbal language so if you give them a warm or unsecure "no", they will notice and be back again. Therefore, when you can’t meet their demands say it clearly without hesitation. Do not give too many excuses that will make you seem unsecure and may indicate that feel guilt for the refusal. Just say: "I've thought about it but I won’t do it."


Keep feeding your neurons

How to detect and stop a manipulator
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Jennifer Delgado Suárez

Psicologist by profession and passion, dedicated to to string words together. Discover my Books


Psychology as you never heard about...

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